From the 1770 "Plan of the Town & Port of Beaufort" by French surveyor and cartographer Claude Joseph Sauthier

Mattie King Davis Gallery, Beaufort NC - When was it built?

The Mattie King Davis Gallery on the Restoration Grounds (originally on Lot 13 Old Town at the corner of Front and Craven streets) is plaqued "Rustell House c.1732." However, in-depth research on the structure does not support the name or date.

INACCURATE: Rustull House circa 1732. The following, written by Maurice Davis, is also incorrect: "In the settlement of the estate of Richard Rustull Jr., his widow was given the small house and outbuildings on Old Town Lot 13, Old Town, Beaufort...it was enlarged and became the town house of the Dennis family and also used as an ordinary." 


ACCURATE:
Richard Rustull Sr. or Jr. did not own Lot 13 in 1732. Rustull Jr.'s 1739 Will, proven 1747, he did not bequeath any property in Old Town Beaufort. There was also no mention of his wife and widow inheriting anything. (Richard Rustull Jr., born about 1700, died before September 1746. His widow Sarah Cogdell married William Dennis in 1747.) 

Early chain of custody
  • Sept 1731, Richard Rustull Sr. sold Lot 13 Old Town to Mary Galland for £3. 
  • June 1748, Arthur Mabson willed Lot 13 to nephew William Coale.  
  • March 1756, was the first record indicating some sort of structure on the lot when William Coale sold the lot for £40. 
  • In 1770 a license was granted to William Fisher to keep an ordinary in the house of William Dennis in Beaufort. (Dennis, however, owned TWO houses/lots in Beaufort - Lot 8 and Lot 13.)
 Who built this house and when  
    
     It appears that either Mary Galland, Arthur Mabeson or William Coale built a small structure on Old Town Lot 13 before 1756, when Coale sold to Moseley for £40.
     William Dennis could have built the two-story house with no porches sometime before 1770. In his 1800 will, he left both lots, #8 and #13 to family "to be rented out."
     Since this could be one of the oldest houses in Beaufort, a dendrochronology study would settle the question as to when the house was built.


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